O'Fallon Precinct, St. Clair County, Illinois

The St. Clair County Courthouse
completed in 1861

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More 1881 histories

Much information in this history is factual as recalled by people living at that time. However, memories are not perfect, and all researchers are urged to verify the people, relationships, places, and events mentioned below with civil, governmental, private, and religious documents written more closely to the actual fact stated. Many of these original record groups are identified and located in St. Clair County Research and Resources, available from the Society.

O'Fallon Precinct

Scanned and proofread from pages 281–285 of St. Clair County History, (Philadelphia: Brink, McDonough, and Company, 1881). This history does have some errors in it so it is prudent to confirm the statements below with other sources closer to the actual event. Any additions by the webmaster within the text are surrounded by [brackets]. Footnotes have been added, and appear at the end of the sketch.

Precincts were those areas of the county that later became townships in 1884. Precincts defined the boundaries of polling districts for local and state elections. Justices of the Peace were elected for each precinct and carried out some civil legal functions. For example, a Justice of the Peace could peform a marriage and hear legal disputes between two parties. While all marriages were to be recorded at the county level, the J.P. was only required to keep a docket of minor civil disputes, not a full record of the proceedings. Very few dockets survive to this day.


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THE greater part of this precinct includes what has been known, from the earliest settlement, as Ridge Prairie. It is high rolling land, with a sufficient amount of timber and water to make it desirable for agricultural pursuits; and it early attracted the pioneer within its borders. It is irregular in form, and contains forty sections, or about 25,600 acres of rich productive land, nearly all of which is susceptible of cultivation. Situated in the northern part of the county, it is bounded as follows: On the north by Madison county, on the east by Lebanon, on the south by Shiloh and Lebanon, and on the west by French Village and Caseyville. The Ohio and Mississippi railroad enters the precinct on section 22, T. 2 N., R. 8 W., [Township 2 North Range 8 West] and traversing an eastern direction, it passes out on section 28, T 2 N., R. 7 W. There is also a short road, from O'Fallon to Belleville, which is a great convenience to shippers.

EARLY SETTLERS.

As near as we can determine at this writing, the first settlement, in what constitutes O'Fallon precinct, was made by the Ogle family in 1802.

Captain Joseph Ogle, of English ancestry, was born in Virginia in 1744. He served in the Revolutionary war, where he was commissioned captain by Governor Patrick Henry, in June, 1777, and commanded a company of Virginia troops. He was married in Virginia to Drusilla Biggs, and had five children, viz. : Nancy, Catherine, Prudence, Benjamin and Joseph. After the death of his first wife, he married Jemima Meiggs, by whom he had four children--Drusilla, Polly, Jacob and Jemima, all born in Virginia. In 1785 he brought his family to Illinois, and first settled in what is now Monroe county, from whence, in 1802, he moved to Ridge Prairie, and located two miles west of the present village of O'Fallon. He was engaged in several Indian fights in this state. At one time he (and six other white men) attacked a party of nine Indians, who were on the war path, and killed seven of their number, only one white man being wounded. This occurred in Monroe county. He was a zealous member of the Methodist church. Though a man of but little book learning, he possessed a large practical knowledge, and was a brave and skillful leader in early Illinois. He owned several slaves when he came to Illinois, and liberated them. The Captain died on his farm Feb., 1821.

His son, Joseph Ogle, was born June 11, 1777, and came with his parents to this state. Married Lucinda Pulliam, July 12, 1804, soon after he located in this precinct. He had no children. Was a soldier in the Black Hawk war. He was a good farmer, and a man of considerable information and influence. Died at his residence, September 14, 1846, aged sixty-nine years. His wife, the daughter of John and Margaret Pulliam, came from near Richmond, Va., and settled in Illinois in 1795, was a devoted wife and Christian--a member of the Methodist church. She died at their farm near O'Fallon, January 15, 1862, seventy­eight years of age.

Jacob Ogle, son of Captain Ogle, also came with his parents to Illinois in 1785, and married Elizabeth Teter, and settled about two miles west of O'Fallon at an early date. He was a member of the Methodist church, a Justice of the Peace for many years, and a man of considerable knowledge, and very popular in the community. His principal occupation was that of a farmer, in which he acquired a good competence. In company with Rev. page ­282 James Lemen, he built and operated a water-mill on Ogle's creek, three miles north of O’Fallon. This was a rude affair, and an insufficiency of water prevented much success in this enterprise e. Mr. Ogle built a horse-mill on his place, with which he ground most of the flour for the settlement for several years. He was an enterprising and valuable man in his day, and much esteemed by all who knew him. He died at his residence. Two of his sons, George and Jacob Ogle, farmers, now living near O’Fallon, are among the esteemed and useful citizens of the county.

Some of the daughters of Capt. Joseph Ogle were married in Virginia, and the others who came to Illinois with him were married here. Nancy married L. Rutherford, in Virginia, and came to this State with her husband and the Ogle family in 1785. She died without issue. Catharine became the wife of Rev. James Lemen, Sr., in Virginia, and emigrated to Illinois, in 1786, and reared a large family. Prudence married Peter Casterline, in Illinois; Drusilla married William Porter, in this state, and raised a family; Polly, the wife of Gen. James Moore, married in this state, but left no children; Jemima married Charles Matheny, who was an early resident of St. Clair county, and a pioneer Methodist minister in Illinois. She died in Springfield, Illinois, in 1858. Her husband moved to Springfield at an early day, where he filled some responsible positions, and died, much respected, before reaching a very old age. His son, James Matheny, of Springfield, who by marriage is related to Abraham Lincoln, is a prominent and able attorney-at-law. All of Mr. Ogle's daughters were members of the Methodist church.

Rev. David Badgley, a pioneer Baptist minister, was born in New Jersey in 1786, came in company with his brother, Anthony Badgley, to Illinois in 1796, and settled at New Design. In the spring of 1804 they settled in St. Clair county. Rev. David Badgley located on a three hundred acre" head right," occupying a part of Sec. 3, Tp. 1 N., R. 8 W., just south of the southern line of this precinct. With the assistance of Rev. Joseph Chance, he organized the first Protestant church in the territory of Illinois. He aided in forming a number of churches in the West, and died December 16, 1824. His descendants are numerous in this county. His children were--David, Ichabod, Job, Abraham, Rachel, Mary and Elizabeth, all of whom left large families. His brother Anthony settled on Sec. 34,. Tp. 2 N., R. 8 W. in this precinct. He had a family of eight children when he came here, viz.: Hiram, Butler, Diademia, who married David Aikman; Nancy married Joseph Beer, an old settler; Elizabeth became the wife of Thomas Beer, a brother of Joseph Beer. He moved to Iowa in 1830. Adelina married William Abbott. These are dead, but all left descendants, many of whom are residing in this county. Eliza, resides with her husband, G W. Dixon, on Sec. 33, Tp. 2 N., R. 8 W. They have in their possession a powder-horn carried by Anthony Badgley, the father of Rev. David and Anthony Badgley, in the Revolutionary war. It has been in the family more than a hundred years, and is greatly prized by them. Simeon, the only son of Anthony Badgley now living, was born in this county in 1805, and resides on the old homestead. He is possessed of a good memory, and delights in telling stories of the olden times. Having seen this country develop from a wilderness into one of the wealthiest and most influential states in the Union, he is naturally well-informed on its history, and has materially aided us in the preparation of this work.

The first settlements in what is now O'Fallon precinct were known as the Ogle settlement, the Badgley settlement and the Lemen settlement.

The Lemens are as prominent and well known to the citizens of St. Clair county as any family that ever settled within its borders. Rev. James Lemen, Sr., who emigrated from Virginia to Illinois in 1786, settled and always resided in Monroe county, where he died. An extended sketch of his life is given in the Baptist Church History in this volume [sketch not prepared for this web page.] His three eldest sons, Robert, Joseph and James, who settled here at an early day, were the founders of the Lemen families now residing in St. Clair county.

Robert Lemen, the eldest son, was born in Berkeley county, Virginia, September 25, 1783, and was brought with his parents to this state in 1786. He came near being drowned the second night after leaving Wheeling by flat-boat, down the Ohio river. Having tied up for the night, the water fell, and the boat being tipped by a stump, they lost most of their provisions and chattels. He was saved by a floating bed-tick upon which he was sleeping. The loss of nearly all their goods caused much inconvenience, but they pursued their journey regardless of the hardships and dangers incident to emigration in that early day, and landed at Kaskaskia July 10, 1786. They remained here a short time and moved to New Design, where they were among the first American settlers. Here Robert grew to manhood and married Hester Tolin, in 1805, and the same year moved and settled on Sec. 1, Tp. 2 N., R. 8 W., where he resided until his death, August 24, 1860, aged seventy-seven years. He lived in the genuine pioneer days, and experienced the trials and privations of a pioneer life. He was a man possessed of an undaunted will, honest, active hands, clear judgment, an unceasing energy, and was regarded as a good citizen and firm Christian. His principal occupation was that of farming, though for many years he was a justice of the peace, and under the administration of John Quincy Adams, was appointed U. S. Marshal of Illinois; was a faithful officer and deservedly popular. He united with the Baptist church in early life, and was clerk of the Richland Baptist church for some time. When the Bethel Church, of which he was a constituent member, was organized in 1809, he was made Clerk, and served until 1845. He and his estimable wife were buried side by side in the Bethel cemetery. They had a family of fifteen children, only three of whom are now living, viz :-Gideon, Hester Bowler, and Emma Beedle. Gideon Lemen is a successful farmer, and resides just over the line, in Madison county, three miles south­east of Collinsville. Hester is the widow of B. F. Bowler, and lives near Alma. Emma is the wife of Joseph Beedle, a farmer, in Christian county, Illinois.

Rev. Joseph Lemen, son of Rev. James Lemen, Sen., was born in Berkeley county, Va., September 8th, 1785, and came with his father to this state, and grew up under the parental roof at New Design. He received a liberal education, for that early period. He united with the Baptist church in early life, and subsequently became a minister of that faith. Was married to Mary Kinney, and settled at an early period on section one, T. 2, [N.] R. 8 W., in this precinct, where he purchased and made a fine farm. He had a family of fourteen children, all of whom, that reached maturity, became members of the Baptist church. Rev. Joseph Lemen was a devoted and active minister of the gospel. He preached for nearly. a half century, and his field of labor extended from Iowa to Kentucky. In this long career he organized many churches, and won thousands to the cause of Christ. He was an able and vigorous pioneer-preacher, and did much to advance the cause of religion in Illinois. His death occurred at his residence, June 29th, 1861, aged nearly 76 years, and his well-worn frame was interred in the family cemetery, near their residence. A few years later his faithful and loving wife, Polly K. Lemen, was laid beside him.

Six of their children are yet living. James resides in Bond county, Illinois; Joseph, who was a captain in the Mexican war,

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and a Major in the late rebellion, is living at Odin, Illinois; Isaac W., in this precinct; Robert, in Collinsville; William, residing in this precinct, and Elizabeth, the wife of Charles Leslie, resides in Kansas.

Rev. James Lemen, son of Rev. James Lemen, Sen., was born at New Design, October 8th, 1787, and it is related from good authority, that he was the second white child born of American parents in the territory of Illinois, Enoch Moore, being the first. He grew to manhood on a farm, a portion of the time, being applied to study under the instruction of Rev. John Clark, who was a liberal scholar. Mathematics and the higher sciences, including a course in theology, composed the curriculum. He professed religion in early life, and was ordained a Baptist minister about the time he arrived at manhood. He was the first ordained native preacher in Illinois. December 8th, 1813, he married Mary Pulliam, and the same year settled on section one, T. 2 N., R. 8 W., in this precinct. They had a family of eleven children born to them. For a little more than half a century he devoted himself to the ministry, and during that time he and his brother, Rev. Joseph Lemen, supplied Bethel church with pastoral services. He also traveled considerably, and organized several early churches in the west, and assisted in ordaining- his father, and many others as ministers. He was a very liberal man, and besides gratuitous labor for the church, be gave of his own means fifty dollars annually, to religious and charitable purposes. Rev. James Lemen occupied several public positions, with honor to himself and satisfaction to the people. He was a member of the legislature under the territorial government, when it met at Kaskaskia, and in the state legislature when the seat of government was at. Vandalia, and state senator for two terms after the capital was removed to Springfield. He also served .as a member of the constitutional convention, which framed the state constitution of 1818; and at a later day was chosen by informal ballot for United States Senator, but declined. In politics he was a Whig. As it was his desire to devote his time largely to the ministry, he finally withdrew from politics. He accumulated a fine property, on Ridge Prairie, where he died February 8th, 1870, aged 82 years, and was buried in Bethel cemetery, where five years later his wife, Mary, was laid by his side. Of his children now living are James Lemen and Mary Stebbins, residing at Hastings, Minn., Robert, at Cairo, Ill., and Joseph B., on the old homestead in this precinct.

John Porter, a native of Ireland, came to Illinois late in the last century, and first settled at Cahokia. He afterwards located in the Ogle settlement, where he resided until death. William, David, Andrew and John were sons of his, and left a large posterity. He also had daughters, who married and had families. Dr. Joseph Oglesby was a Methodist preacher, and settled near the Badgleys in 1805. He was a man of vigorous mind, and a successful laborer in the cause. He subsequently moved to Indiana. Rev. Charles R. Matheny, who married a daughter of Captain Joseph Ogle, settled near his father-in-law in 1806. He was also a Methodist minister, a lawyer and politician. He moved to Springfield, and was appointed clerk of Sangamon county. Rev. Matheny was a faithful and devout Christian, and died at Springfield several years ago. Henry Mace was another prominent and well-known pioneer. He was born in Shanandoah Valley, Virginia, in 1776, and came at a very early date to Illinois, and located at Kaskaskia. He was a tailor, and followed his trade in that place. He married Drucilla Andrews, a daughter of James Andrews, who, with all his family, except DrucilIa, were killed by the Indians. She was taken captive, and remained with them for over two years, when she was ransomed by the French at Kaskaskia. By this union there was one child, Elizabeth. She was married to James Tolly. After the death of his first wife, he was again married and had nine children, seven of whom grew to maturity. They are as follows: Susan, who married William Hilt, a patriot of the war of 1812, and an old settler in the county; James, John; Catherine married John Stites; Sarah, the wife of Andrew Umbarger; Lucy, who became the wife of George Hart; Christena, the widow of J. B. Needles, a soldier: of the Black Hawk war. Susan, Catherine, Sarah and Christena are all of this family now living, but they were all married and have left descendants.

Mr. .Mace was also a soldier in the war of 1812. He lived for a time at Whiteside's Station, in Monroe county, and settled as early as 1810 in this precinct, on section 19, T. 2 N. R. 7 W., where he resided until a few years before his death. He died in O'Fallon. The Simpson family were also very early settlers. Rev. John Simpson was born near London, England, where he grew to manhood, and married Nancy Ann Ryder. He was educated a Baptist minister, and came as a missionary to America in 1780, and settled in Kentucky. At a later period he moved, and located in Monroe county, Illinois, where he engaged in the ministry. He reared a family, some of whom became residents of St. Clair county. Mrs. Nancy Hogan, who resided near Bethel church in this precinct, was a daughter of Rev. John Simpson. She was twice married. The first time to John Best, an old settler in the county. After his death she became the wife of Patrick Hogan, and raised a family. She died a few years ago at her residence, where she had lived for more than half a century. Rev. Gideon Simpson, a son of Rev. John Simpson, settled about three miles north of Alma, at a very early date, and raised a large family. He was a Baptist minister, and served as captain in the Black Hawk war. Rev. Joseph Chance, another Baptist minister, settled in the northern part of the precinct in 1807. He was born in Delaware in 1765. He married Jemima Morris and moved to Kentucky, where he professed religion and began preaching. He moved his family to Illinois, and located at New Design, in 1794, and then he came to this county. He raised a large family.

William Penn was another early settler in the vicinity of the village of O'Fallon. Some of his descendants are living, at this writing, in the county. David Sparks, David McFarland and Isaac Forman were also early settlers. Samuel Redman located on section 35 of T. 2 N. R. 8 W., where he resided until his death, and left a large posterity. Abraham Clark, who served in the war of 1812, settled the William Forquer place, very early. He afterwards removed to New Design. Samuel Dorris and Samuel Caruthers came in 1811. John Hendricks located in the south-western corner of T. 2-8 [Township 2 North Range 3 West] in 1812. The Stites family were early settlers in the vicinity of Alma.

About 1811, the settlers erected a block house for protection against the Indians, near the present site of Alma. Although there were frequent alarms in this section, the Indians never committed any serious depredations.

The first settlers in this precinct were a noble class of pioneers, and their families have always been among the honored and most respected citizens in this part of the state. The Ogles, the Badgleys, the Lemens and many others, brought with them the cheering ceremonies of a pure religion, and with prayer and religious worship they laid the foundation in the fear of God. The privations and hardships ps of pioneer life are fully detailed in the chapter on old settlers in the first part of this work.

We give below the names of those who entered land in this precinct in 1814, (1) as taken from the county records. In T. 2 N., R. 7 W., page 284 they are as follows: James Lemen, Jr., S. E. ¼ sec. 7, 160 acres, Dec. 3; Daniel White, S. ½, sec. 8, 320 acres, Dec, 3; Charles R. Matheny, 250.87 acres in sec. 19, Sept. 30; Henry Mace, S. E. ¼ sec. 19, 160 acres, Dec. 21; Joseph Dixon, S. E. ¼, sec. 31, 160 acres, Sept. 16; Joseph Ogle, S. ½, sec. 18, 263.74 acres, March 7. In T. 2 N., R. 8 W.--Robert Lemen, 441.63 acres in sec. 1, Aug. 12; William Phillips, S. E. ¼, sec 1, 160 acres, Sept. 29; Samuel Kinney, N. E. ¼, sec. 11, 127 acres, Aug. 23; J. Enochs and J. Waddle, S. E. ¼, sec. 11, 160 acres, Sept. 29; Jacob Ogle, N. E. ¼, sec. 12, 160 acres, Sept. 29; Joseph Chance, 160 acres, Aug. 2; George Dixon, S. W. ¼, sec. 22, 160 acres, Aug.13; Charles R. Matheny, N. E. ¼, sec. 25, 158.38 acres, Sept. 30; Joshua Oglesby, S. E. ¼, sec. 28. 149 acres, Sept. 13; John Messinger, N. W. ¼, sec. 29, 160 acres, Dec. 24; David Badgley, N. E. ¼, sec. 34, 160 acres, Sept. 16; Anthony Badgley, S. W. ¼, sec. 34,160 acres, Aug. 13; Samuel Redman, S. ½, sec. 35, 320 acres, Sept. 16.

Among some of the settlers of a later date may be mentioned Merlin Jones, Sen. He settled on a farm two and a half miles south-west from Bethel church. He was an active member of the Baptist church, a man of liberal education, and became quite a prominent citizen. He subsequently removed to Washington county, where he died in 1868. Benjamin and Harrison Scott, brothers, and John and Paul Kingston, settled very early, just south of the present site of O'Fallon. They all left descendants here. The Begole family, residing in this vicinity, are descendants of Josiah Begole. He was born of Huguenot parents in Washington county, Maryland, March 25, 1792. In the year 1805, he emigrated with his father to the state or New York, where he resided until the spring of 1819. In 1820, he came, via Detroit, Cincinnati, and the Ohio river, to this state, and from that year until his death he was a resident of St. Clair county. He died. March 2, 1874. He was married March 2, 1824, to Mary Terry. The ceremony was performed by Rev. John M. Peck. Thus the day he would have celebrated as his golden wedding was the day he died. He left a widow and nine children, six sons and three daughters. When he crossed the Ohio river into Illinois, he paid the last piece of money in his possession, a shilling, to ferry him across, but by industry and energy he became independent, gave all his children a good education, and settled them comfortably around him. Isaac Nearen, an old pioneer and soldier of 1812, was born in Maryland, and came to this state about the year 1800. He first resided in Monroe county, for a short time, and then became a resident of Turkey Hill. About 1807, he removed to Ridge Prairie, where he remained until about 1840, when he removed with his family, all but James, to Iowa. James Nearen is in his 77th year, and resides on section 11, T. 2, N., R. 8 W. His wife, Nicene Gaskill, is a daughter of Jonathan Gaskill, a native of Vermont, who settled about seven miles south of Lebanon in 1810. They had three children, married and settled around them. George Pousch, a prominent early German settler in this precinct, is residing on section 11. He has raised a good-sized family, all of whom have settled around him.

Among the. prominent and successful settlers of a later date may be mentioned Peter Bowler, who with his wife and family settled four miles north and one mile east of O'Fallon, He was an active member of the Baptist church, and it was largely owing to his efforts that the Bethel church, in that day a costly one, was erected. He was an industrious and enterprising farmer, and an influential member in society. He died at a ripe old age on his farm on Ridge Prairie, esteemed by all who knew him. His wife, who was a devoted Christian woman, died a few years previously at the family residence. They had four sons--Benjamin F., George W., William P., and John O. F. Bowler. They all united with the Baptist church, and were all farmers. Benjamin F. died at his residence, three miles north of Alma, in 1872, leaving a widow and several children, well provided for. George W. and family reside in O'Fallon, where he is a Justice of the Peace, which office he has faithfully filled for many years. The two brothers, John O. F., and Wm. P. reside in Madison county.

We give a few names of the parties now living, who became early residents, that are not mentioned above: S. S. Kirger, a blacksmith in O'Fallon, came here in 1821; John Eckert, residing on Sec. 32, is a native of Penna, and located here in 1839; W. S: Scott, was born in this county in 1836, and resides on Sec. 36; G. W. Darrow, born in the county in 1831; George W. Ogle, born here in 1818, and his wife in 1828, reside on Sec. 30; William Simmons, lives on Sec. 19, and was born in this county in 1834. J. M. Ogle, on Sec. 18, was born in the county in 1834; B. F. Begole, was born here in 1828, and his brother who resides on Sec. 24, was born in 1825; Mary Smiley, widow of Matthew Smiley, is a native of Ohio, and came here in 1830; A. J. Cooper, was born in St. Clair in 1829, and resides on Sec. 3; Rebecca Forman, residing on Sec. 22, is the widow of the late Isaac Forman, who came here from Kentucky in 1820--she became a resident of St. Clair in 1818; Warren Beadle, residing on Sec. 22, is a native of Ohio, and came here in 1818; Levi Piggott, a St. Louisian by birth, came to this county in 1836; Amos Stites, whose father was a very early settler, was born here in 1830, and resides with his family on Sec. 33; Jackson Brake, of Greene county, Ohio, settled here in 1818, and resides on Sec. 33. His widow, Mary Oglesby, was born in St. Clair county in 1817, and died in 1879; William J. Rittenhouse, also a native of the county, born in 1833, resides on Sec. 34 ; Thomas P. Owings, was born in 1830, and lives on Sec. 25.

Thus we have given a brief history of some of the earliest and most prominent settlers. A full history of the churches and schools may be found in their respective chapters. The pioneer chapter fully details the trials and hardships of the early settlers, and much other matter of general interest may he seen in it. The census of 1880 gives the precinct a population of 3042, including the villages.

THE VILLAGE OF O'FALLON
received its name in honor of John O'Fallon, a prominent and wealthy gentleman of St. Louis, and at that time an officer of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad company. It is located on the W. ½ of Sec. 29 and the E ½ of Sec. 30, T. 2 N. R. 7 W embracing one mile square. The first improvements were made by the O. & M. company, in 1854, and consisted of a depot and water tank. The first sale of lots was made at public auction May 13th, 1854. There were but few disposed of in this way, and they were divided among Frederick A. Carpenter, Hugo O. Sheerbarlh, and two or three others; Anderson Umbarger erected the first dwelling, in the place, in the fall of 1855. It was a small frame building located on the corner of Main and Cherry streets, and now forms the front part of the neat residence still occupied by Mr. Umbarger. The post-office was established the same year, and Mr. Umbarger was the first post-master. He was also the agent for the R. R. company. The second building was a residence and store room, erected by Henry S. Gordon, of Randolph county, in the fall of 1856. It was a frame structure, the main part about 18 x 30 feet, one story high, with an L, and kitchen in the rear. The front room was used as a store in which he placed the first stock of goods. Mr. Gordon soon sold out to his son-in law, S. Mace, who

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ran the business. The next house, erected by Walter Westfield in 1856, is still standing, where it was built, nearly opposite the depot. William Peach built a residence, one block north of the depot, in the same year. In 1857 Peach & Simmons erected the next (fifth) building. It was constructed of brick, about 30 x 40 feet, two stories high, and stood on the lot where John Shinton's saloon now stands. On the night of June 3d, 1863, it was destroyed by fire, and Levi Simmons built another brick, which is still standing. Peach & Simmons placed a complete stock of general goods in it as soon as completed. John and Robert R. Salter erected the store and residence now occupied by R. Kampmeyer, in 1857, in which they resided and kept store.

The next store was kept in the room of what is now Fischer's saloon, by Herman J. Blanck, in the spring of 1859. The building was erected. the year before by Henry Stocker, for a hotel, and has always been kept as a public house. Henry Stocker, Phillip Schildknecht and John Distler, who located here in 1859, were the first German residents of the village.

In July of that year Dr. Columbus Hixson, became the first resident physician, and is still engaged in practice here. In 1859 the following families were the only residents of the place: Anderson Umbarger, Wm. Peach, Mrs. C. Kolowlton, John Daily, John Salter, Dr. C. Hixson, Henry Stocker, Phillip Schildknecht, Cornelius Neville, Henry Farr, John Disler, C. Powell, Benjamin Orcutt, Henry Mace, and G. W. Rawson. From this date the village has grown gradually, and the population, as taken in 1880, was 960. About two-thirds s are Germans, and they control the place.


Schools.-At the laying out of the village there was a small frame, district school-house, within its limits, where the children first attended school. The first school-building, erected in the village, was in 1861, when the main part of the present house was built. Since then an addition has been made to it. It is a brick structure. There are also two German parochial schools, both well attended.

Incorporation.--It was incorporated under the general law as a village January 27, 1874, and the first election for officers held April 21, of the same year. The following were elected: Frank Poignee, President; Charles Tiedemann, Daniel Schafer, Thomas Mackin, John Feder, and John Powell, Trustees. The present board are Ernst Tiedemann, President; Evan Davis, Thomas Mackin, Joseph Landgraf, William Wittig, D. D. Gartside; Henry A. Schildknecht, Clerk; Herman Obst, village Constable. The Justices of the Peace are Philip Schildknecht, James Owens, and G. W. Bowler.

Churches.- The village is supplied with four churches. The Baptist church was organized in 1865, and their house of worship was erected the same year. The Methodist church was built in 1866. The Catholic in 1867, and the German Lutheran in 1879. They are all neat and commodious edifices.

Lodges.--The Royal Templars of Temperance was organized in February 1880. The Independent Order of Good Templers in February, 1881. The O'Fallon Lodge, No. 576, A, F. and A. M., was chartered Oct. 6, 1868. Treu Bund, W. O. T. B., was organized May 6, 1871. The German Lodge No. 463, I. O. O. F., organized in 1872. The O’Fallon Lodge No. 431, I. O. O. F., was chartered in 1869. St Clair Lodge, K. of P. No. 40, chartered in 1875. German Lodge, K. of H. No. 878, chartered February 4, 1878. They are all well attended, and have a good membership.

The Richland Mills were erected in 1861, by Tiedemann & Raith, and now owned and operated by Charles A. Tiedemann. The building was then only a small one, with but two run of burrs. It has since been enlarged to 65 x 75 feet, three stories high. The building is brick. It contains eleven run of burrs, with a capacity of 400 barrels per day. Mr. Tiedemann intends changing the mill to the Roller process this spring, which will enable him to compete with the best mills in the country. He also has in connection with the mill an elevator with a capacity of 60,000 bushels storage. The cooper-shop is 24 x 140 feet, frame. He employs in all about forty men. The mill is connected with two railroads, and with Belleville by telephone.
Brick Yards.-There are two of these in the village, which manufacture a good article. They are operated by M. Wachter, and Jacob Brewer.
Physicians.--C. Hixson, H. Bechthold, O. C. Bates, D. C. Dunn, Ed. Oatman, B. Krause, James McGeehan.
Dentist.- R. H. Mace.
General Stores.--B. W. Muelhausen, Ernst Tiedemann, Charles Hoffmann.
Grocery.- D. D, Gartside.
Drug Stores.- L. Hibbard, B. Krause.
Stoves, Tin-ware and Agricultural Implements.--Rudolph Kamp meyer.
Agricultural Implements and Hardware.- Richard Remelius.
Millinery.--Miss Annie Schneider.
Bakery and Confectionery.--Fred. Kunzmann, Jacob Hammer.
Furniture Store.--C. Ruedlin.
Lumber Yard.--C. Huelsman & Co.
Lime, Cement and Tile.-C. F. Fischer.
Blacksmith Shops.- Herman Gross, A. Bequeret, August Behrens, S S. Kirger, Christ. Jacobs.
Shoe Shops.-Christ. Obst, P. Yungblut.
Harness Shops-Henry Schildknecht, David McFarland.
Livery Stables.-John Gibson, Charles F. Fischer.
Wagon Shops-Andrew Molles, John Bernum.
Butcher Shops.-John Hoffmann, Reinhard Strub, Arnold Simon. Hotels.-" O'Fallon House," Charles F. Fischer, proprietor. It is a neat frame building, near the depot, and is well conducted. "St. Clair House," Michael Bernhard, proprietor. "Farmer's Home," C. Link, proprietor. SaloonsCharles F. Fischer, Tom Mackin, George Daumling, George Pongeé, Charles Link, Henry Ruester, Michael Wachter, Jack Shinton, Levi Beaumont, Michael Bernhard, Joseph Landgraf.

ALMA
Is a coal mining village, situated in section 25, T. 2 N., R. 8 W., on the line of the O. & M. Railroad and contains about 100 houses-belonging to the Gartside Coal Company. The first shaft was sunk here by the above company in 1851. They now have three shafts. The average depth of the mines is a little over two hundred feet, and the vein is full seven feet. The coal is of an excellent quality. They employ in the operation of the mines about two hundred men. The company have a machine shop, a blacksmith shop and a carpenter’s shop, and there is one general store, kept by Joseph Taylor, which constitutes the business. Ridge Prairie post-office is also located here.

FORMAN'S
Is a flag station on the O. & M. railroad, only a short distance west of Alma.

There are also two more coal mines in this precinct, east of O'Fallon, the Van Court mine, and the Nicholas mine. The former was sunk in 1863 by Sharp and Thompson. It is now owned by B. J. Van Court, and operated by Savitz Brothers, of St. Louis. The mine is 207 feet deep, with a seven foot vein. The Nicholas mine was sunk about 1870, by Nicholas and McCoy. It is now owned and operated by Joseph Morris. The shaft is 212 feet deep, and the vein the same thickness of the above.


FOOTNOTES

(1) These lands are the Public Domain Land Sales which began in 1814. Some may be lands granted as Preemption (Squattors’) Rights. The Illinois State Archives has an online index to all Public Domain Land Sales in Illinois and can also provide documentation for Preemptions.


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